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The veteran advantage: A guide to attracting military talent into your business

By Ian Handley | |6 minute read

Each year, around 6,000 people leave the Australian Defence Force and begin their transition journey into civilian careers. Many veterans leave service armed with a wealth of transferable skills and insight, as well as resilience and an inbuilt drive to perform work with purpose.

To leverage this highly valuable but often overlooked talent pool, employers must consider how to intentionally appeal to veteran candidates – simply inviting them to apply isn’t going to cut it. Fortunately, there are a range of additional measures employers can take to effectively attract and recruit veterans.

Connect with the veteran community


Explore local or online events your organisation can participate in to connect directly with transitioning serving members, veterans and their families. Veteran job fairs, in particular, offer a great opportunity to speak face-to-face with candidates and gain a better understanding of their career motivations and goals. Taking part in these events will also give you a chance to highlight open employment opportunities, display a commitment to supporting the veteran community and create the potential for valuable word-of-mouth recommendations.

Tap into the power of partnerships

Explore the possibility of partnering with established military transition programs. Partnerships are a useful avenue to signal credibility, leverage existing connections to the military community and promote hiring opportunities across targeted networks. Not only does this allow you to better engage with veteran talent, but it also aligns your organisation with those veterans know and trust.

Ensure your job postings are veteran-friendly

Refining job postings to better appeal to veteran candidates can make a significant difference to your attraction strategy. Start by highlighting the relevant soft skills necessary to land a role in your organisation – for example, critical thinking, teamwork, adaptability, leadership and communication. Additionally, emphasise any valuable transferable skills ex-service people are likely to have from their military experience and how these relate to the job requirements, such as problem solving in operational roles, strategic thinking for leadership, and performance under pressure in security environments.

When developing job ads, it’s important to avoid using industry jargon or corporate terminology that veteran candidates are likely to be unfamiliar with. Instead, focus on clear and concise language that accurately conveys what skills are needed to perform the core job function.

Veterans looking to transition into civilian careers are likely to be researching terms such as “jobs for veterans” and “ex-defence careers”, so ensure you also incorporate the relevant keywords into your ads.

Effectively market the program

The success of attracting and recruiting veteran talent hinges on awareness of the initiative among potential candidates. Publicly announce your program and focus on online marketing opportunities – posting on websites, social media, and traditional advertising. It’s also a good idea to engage with social media groups and pages dedicated to veterans and their families.

Provide upskilling opportunities

Consider introducing on-the-job training initiatives to help veterans gain new skills and apply their existing capabilities in new contexts. Technical and industry-specific skills are generally easier to train than the soft skills that veterans will bring to your organisation.

Veterans are highly motivated and adaptable employees trained to get rapidly up to speed with new tasks and processes, making the approach to hire on soft skills and train for technical skills a viable option when bringing these candidates on board. Developing streamlined training programs that bridge the gap between civilian and military careers will help new hires gain technical skills and fast-track their ability to deliver value to your business.

If your organisation chooses to provide on-the-job training, be sure to emphasise this in any job postings, as those training opportunities signal a commitment to supporting candidates as they adapt to new careers.

Following this initial investment, offering continued upskilling opportunities and career progression pathways will make a valuable contribution to retaining your veteran employees. When a civilian workplace demonstrates a commitment to clear, merit-driven career management, it not only fosters trust but also creates a compelling destination for those who have served.

Ian Handley is the vice-president of Oceania at WithYouWithMe.



The practice of actively seeking, locating, and employing people for a certain position or career in a corporation is known as recruitment.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.